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Leach Treewalk

Leach Botanical Garden Aerial Treewalk

Because of 213 generous individuals, families, clubs, and businesses, the Leach Garden Friends crowdfund surpassed its $30,000 goal. Thank you!

Everyone is invited to the Upper Garden Phase 1 groundbreaking in 2018 and grand opening in 2019 (details soon). Besides the exciting Aerial Treewalk, Leach visitors will enjoy easier access, safer paths, a colorful Pollinator Garden, an Arbor & Fireplace Terrace suitable for classes and events, and other features.

Leach Garden's founders, John and Lilla, intended that it become a "botanical garden for the public." For the past 35 years it has been just that, thanks to dedicated friends, volunteers, and staff who give it their all. Thank you for giving the crowdfund YOUR all so Leach may better serve a larger public. 

Update (11/10) - Thank you! 

We are ecstatic the crowdfund has raised $30,000 to build the Leach Treewalk! Thank you to everyone who gave so far.

You can still contribute and make green spaces more accessible in East Portland.  Up-to-date facilities—from parking and paths to bathrooms and benches—are crucial for Garden visitors. Every dollar you donate before midnight Nov. 11 will go toward making Leach more accessible and welcoming to everyone.  Will you help meet this stretch goal?  Thank you for all you've done to support Leach and the community we serve!

Update (11/8)

Today the Portland Parks Foundation just pledged a $1,000, 1:1 match to help the Leach Garden Friends crowdfund campaign reach its $30,000 goal. Starting now—and until all new gifts total $1,000—the Foundation will match every dollar you contribute to the Treewalk.  Give to help us get the match - and get Leach's Aerial Treewalk built!  Thanks for your support, PPF.

Update (11/6) - Final week to give to Leach's Treewalk! 

Hooray! Thank you recent crowdfund donors for matching the $2,500 dollars offered by a generous Leach Garden volunteer. The crowdfund is has almost met the goal, with just a few days to finish, and you can help get us over the top. If you want to be part of creating the Treewalk to enhance Leach as a destination that connects everyone to plants and nature, please donate now!  Invite your friends, neighbors, coworkers, and fellow community members to join you in being part of making Leach "a magical place for all."

Update (11/2) - Let's meet the 1:1 match today! Help fund the Aerial Treewalk!

We're just a couple of hundred dollars away from meeting the generous 1:1 match up to $2,500 from a longtime Garden friend.  Help us get there today!  And, in other exciting news: we've reached 70% of our goal to build the Aerial Treewalk.  We're building the Treewalk to help increase access to the Garden, to trees, and nature in East Portland - a part of the city where greenspace is needed, especially for kids and diverse communities.  We'll be able to provide another way for people to venture into the woodlands at Leach and get to experience this wonderful place of respite, delight, and discovery!  Join us today - and invite your friends and neighbors to join you in creating this unique structure in East Portland.

Update (10/25) - Donate now and double your gift! 

A wonderful Garden friend just announced a $2,500 1:1 match. Having volunteered at the Garden for decades, she is delighted to see a surge of community support to give all Leach visitors the chance to see the Garden from an unusual and exciting perspective. If you give now, your contribution will be doubled! Starting today—and until all new gifts reach a total $2,500—she will match every dollar you contribute to the Treewalk.

For decades Leach Botanical Garden has been an enchanting refuge in East Portland - and now we are about to take bold steps toward becoming a garden for everyone, both in East Portland and around the region. The centerpiece will be a treewalk - 30 feet off the ground - giving visitors of all ages and abilities the chance to experience a truly unique urban garden and forest.


Leach Botanical Garden opened to the public 34 years ago, and over the years we’ve been able to expand its acreage. Now we're ready to take the most ambitious step ever. After delivering surveys in four languages to 50,000 households, meeting with hundreds of neighbors at fairs and community gatherings, and consulting civic and business leaders, a clear consensus emerged. To better serve visitors and students Leach should provide a "wow" attraction, year-round color, more gathering spaces, and easier access to and within the Garden. In response we developed a comprehensive plan to connect 100,000 visitors and students with nature through plants, ecology, education, art, and recreation. We're now on our way to making years of dreaming about how to develop those new acres a reality and we want you to join the transformation! 


We need your help to build the Aerial Treewalk, one of the anchor components of Leach’s transformation. The Treewalk will be unlike anything else in the region.  

Our Treewalk will thrill all visitors and increase up-close access to the woodland at Leach. At its southernmost point, the 345 foot long oval walkway is elevated 30 feet above the wooded hillside. The Treewalk  will provide all visitors an unforgettable garden overlook and a fresh perspective on nature.  

This crowdfund gives everyone in our community a chance to be part of building the Treewalk and transform a one-of-a-kind garden retreat into a more accessible and exciting community resource.  Just as John and Lilla Leach - who lived and worked in East Portland over 75 years ago - created and bestowed their gardens to Portland area residents, we can make sure that new generations of visitors delight in the discovery of the plant world. 


(Photo by Rick Liu)

The nucleus of Leach Botanical Garden is John and Lilla Leach's 1936 house surrounded by four acres of garden beds, given to the City of Portland in their wills. John, a pharmacist, and Lilla, an accomplished botanist, created a garden to share their fascination with plants. Lilla’s work, explorations, and discoveries earned her an international reputation in the botanical community. Lilla discovered many new plants, including the Kalmiopsis leachiana. John was the owner of the Phoenix Pharmacy at SE 67th Avenue and Foster Road, and a community leader involved in civic improvements throughout Portland. The Leach's property was developed as a home and haven for studying plants – particularly Northwest species – and sharing that knowledge with friends and family. Read more about the history of Leach.


We appreciate all of the hard work our community puts into Leach, whether you're contributing to the crowdfund, volunteering, or simply enjoying and learning from the gardens. You can also help by sharing this crowdfund and posting on Facebook to help spread the word! This crowdfund is our chance to transform a one-of-a-kind garden retreat into a more accessible and exciting community resource for all of us.  Would you take a moment to send an email to the people you know asking them to click on the link to this site and to consider contributing?  Even people who are not gardeners will recognize the significance of making this ‘place like no other’ a garden gem for our city.

Your contribution to this crowdfunding campaign goes to Leach Botanical Garden, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization.



We've got a number of ways to celebrate Leach Botanical Garden - and to thank you for supporting this crowdfunded project! For anyone who gives, we'll thank you on the Leach website. 

At the $25 giving level you'll receive a packet of pollinator seeds whose flowers attract butterflies and bees.

For a gift of $50 you can claim a garden journal, designed by the Far Woods, to record your garden activities, best practices, and lessons learned for three years.

And, for those who give at the $250 or higher, we're extremely excited to actually celebrate the opening of the Treewalk with you at a sneak peak event! 


How much will the Treewalk cost? 
We anticipate the Treewalk will cost $1.2million. Thanks to generous support from community members, we’ve already raised $1,080,000 - and this crowdfund will leverage additional funding from the City of Portland and a Murdock Charitable Trust grant to build the Treewalk and other new aspects of the garden.

When will the Treewalk be built?

This first phase of development, which includes the Treewalk, is expected to take place in 2018-2019. 

What else is happening as part of this bigger plan to transform Leach?
The Treewalk is one element of the First Phase of the Leach transformation. Highlights include:

  • Habitat and Pollinator Garden 
  • Fireplace Terrace and Arbor, event space with inspiring views
  • Gathering Green for programs or informal events
  • Safer Paths Connecting Upper and Lower Gardens
  • Upper Garden Parking
  • Welcoming Garden Entry
  • Improved Interpretive Signs
  • Woodland Enhancements

Future phase highlights include:

  • Alpine Garden, showcasing some of the most fragile plants on the planet
  • Children’s Garden, featuring hands-on experiences
  • Community and Special Events Pavilion
  • Gift Shop and Partner Offices
  • Gulliver’s Garden, an enchanting garden that makes visitors feel tiny
  • Physic Garden, a modern take on John Leach’s medicinal garden
  • Visitor Welcome Building
  • Water Gardens, with a pond, bog, and fen

You can read more about the Upper Garden Development Plan.


Video: Sika Stanton

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